Premier League club Southampton are now “leading the chase” to sign ex-Chelsea star Ross Barkley despite claims Rangers had a clear run at the midfielder.

That’s according to the Daily Mail, who claim Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side have turned their attention to the 33-times capped England midfielder following his release from Stamford Bridge.

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This comes after Saints star Romeo Lavia – a £14m summer signing from Man City – picked up an injury in Southampton’s 2-1 win over Chelsea during the week.

To make matters worse, the talented 18-year-old had scored a worldie to equalise for the South coast club in the Premier League clash.

The post-match prognosis was not a good one and according to Austrian coach Hassenhuttl Romeo Lavia faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Southampton now in front in Rangers-linked Ross Barkley chase

As a result, Rangers-linked Ross Barkley has now popped up on Southampton’s radar and it may represent a blow for the Ibrox club, if they are genuinely interested in the 28-year-old.

Noises earlier in the week suggested that Rangers were looking into a deal for Barkley but that the club faced competition from Old Firm rivals Celtic and numerous Premier League sides.

The man who broke the apparent interest – prominent British sports journalist Alan Nixon – would then claim on deadline day that the Gers had a “clear run” at the signing.

This is after the two Premier League clubs reportedly considering a move for Ross Barkley had opted to move elsewhere.

Rangers have previously intimated to journalists friendly with the club that they are expecting a quiet deadline day but perhaps this was to temper expectations amongst the support.

Not that it’s particularly worked; Rangers fans certainly expected some quality additions after qualification for the Champions League and have so far been disappointed.

Ross Barkley would represent a major move by the club and let’s just see where we’re sitting come 12pm.

Meanwhile, one team of transfer rivals have reportedly hit a snag in their pursuit of a player it’s clear Rangers fans would love at Ibrox.

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